5 best day trips from Krakow

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A vibrant and historic city, offering visitors an adventurous trip. Its cobbled streets steeped in history, lively markets and the Royal walk that leads down to the majestic Wawel Castle, it earns its reputation as one of Europe’s must visit destinations for budget travellers. 

Yet this beautiful city extends beyond its old city ruins to alpine villages, adventurous river rafting to somber moments in history and so much more.  

But with only a short vacation time available, we make it possible to escape with one of these day trips from Krakow. This is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and rich history of the region.  

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Best day trips from Krakow 

Whether you’re looking for an adventure, learn about history, or just get out of the city for a day, then Krakow is perfect for an adventure. From the depths of the Wieliczka Salt Mines to the peaks of the Tatra Mountains, we have chosen the best day trips from Krakow that’s captivating.  


Auschwitz-Birkenau is a haunting reminder to one of our darkest chapters in history. For many, this is a day trip from Krakow that is based on reflection, taking you into the depths of history and a pilgrimage to honour the memory of those who suffered during the Holocaust.  

To learn about this UNESCO World Heritage Site, a guided tour is recommended. This will enhance your experience and will provide you with insightful knowledge as you explore the various areas.  

Within the tour, you’ll be taken around Auschwitz I, the original concentration camp. Start by walking through the infamous gates that read “Arbeit Macht Frei” Work Sets you Free, before exploring the barracks and administration buildings.  

From Auschwitz I, take a journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau the larger extermination camp, just a short distance away.  

The sheer scale of the camp becomes apparent, with row upon row of barracks, the original train tracks that lead prisoners into the camp from around German occupied territories. You’ll also witness the remains of what would have been crematoriums and gas chambers.  

We took our time during our day trip from Krakow to Auschwitz-Birkenau to reflect on the many millions of people who lost their lives and remember in silence.  

This is not just a sightseeing day trip, but a change to bear witness to history and honour the memories of the victims. Lest We Forget.  


How to get there:  

Car: Just over 69km from Krakow. Hiring a car will take about 1 hour and 5 minutes to reach. There is a small onsite car park available.  

Public transport: You could catch the train and then a bus from Krakow main train station. The journey should take just over 1 hour. 

Bus: You could take a direct bus from Krakow Bus Station to Auschwitz-Birkenau, book either 1 way or a return. You can book tickets here. 

Guided tour: You can book this Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour & Pickup.  

Ticket prices 

Prices per person is 110zt ($27.67). 

You can book your tickets here. 

It is highly recommended to book in advance to prevent disappointment as tickets sell out quickly.   

Written by Bev & Shams Adventures 

Dunajec River Rafting

If you are looking for a scenic day trip from Krakow, the Dunajec river is a great option. It runs through the Pieniny Mountains and for some part is a border between Poland and Slovakia. The best way to explore the river is by taking a river raft.

You can get to the Dunajec river from Krakow by car. It takes a bit more than 2 hours to drive to the starting point of rafting on the Slovakian side of the river. Another option is to go on a guided tour from Krakow, then you won’t have to worry about the logistics.

The Dunajec river rafting is available from April until October. 

Dunajec River Rafting an amazing day trip from Krakow
Dunajec River Rafting

You can choose different activity levels as well. There are wooden rafts driven by the raft guides. In these, you can relax and enjoy the scenery of the Dunajec river and the summit views of different mountains in the Pieniny Range. Pontoons or kayaks are also available for people who are more active and can get bored easily. 

Dunajec river rafting can be started from the Polish side or from the Slovakian side of the river. A tip is to start the trip from the Slovakian side, as there will be an option to go back to the starting point on a bike along the river. That is an adventure of its own as you get to experience the river route for the second time at your own pace. If you start on the Polish side the only way to get back will be a bus.

How to get there:  

Car: The best way to get to Dunajec River. Around a 2-hour journey. 

Public transport: No public transport available 

Tour: You could book this tour From Krakow: Dunajec Pontoon Rafting Trip, that way you don’t need to plan the logistics.  

Written by Una | Wandernity


If you want to see the real winter capital of Poland, look no further than Zakopane. It is a perfect place to visit on a day trip from Krakow if you want to experience the Goral culture. Traditional wooden houses, delicious regional food, and plenty of snow will make you fall in love with this winter wonderland.

The best way to get to Zakopane from Krakow is by bus. There are multiple bus companies that you can choose from such as Neobus Polska, MAXBUS ZAKOPANE, or Majer Bus. With over 30 bus routes during the day between Krakow and Zakopane, it is super easy to go on a day trip from Krakow.

This is our next day trip from Krakow. Visiting the snow capped village at Zakopane

Within 2 hours you will find yourself in a charming town, near the Slovakia border with beautiful views of the Tatra Mountains. Make sure, to pack with you, a backpacking camera to take incredible pictures from the top of the Kasprowy Wierch at 1987 m. You will also have incredible views of Zakopane from Guba?ówka with an elevation of 1126 m.

Other attractions include exploring Krupowki Street and trying delicious Polish food. Visit in one of the restaurants with a traditional wooden interiors will make your day trip even more magical. Bakowo Zohylina Wyznio is a beautiful rustic restaurant not far from The Great Krokiew in Zakopane.

How to get there:  

Car: Around 106km with a journey time of about 2 hours.  

Public transport: Take the bus from Krakow Central Bus Station to Zakopane Bus Station, journey time of around 2 hours.  

Tour: This is a great tour from Krakow: Day Tour of Zakopane and Tatra Mountains 

Written by Paulina | ukeveryday


Located about 67 kilometers west of Poland’s capital of Kraków, Oswiecim is distinctively known for its housing of the first Auschwitz concentration camp. Often toured by thousands of tourists each year, this is a heart-wrenching site to be seen during your visit to Oswiecim.

From Kraków, the site of Auschwitz I can be reached via local bus which is a direct route and takes about 90 minutes each way. But occasionally can take as long as an hour and 45 minutes. You also have the option of accessing the camp via train which is the fastest and takes about 90 minutes exactly. However, if you’re hoping for a direct route, then the bus is your better option. 

For those who prefer to visit less emotionally overwhelming attractions, you have numerous options in Oswiecim! You can have a picnic in Planty Park, explore the Market Square, light a candle in the Chapel of St. Jack, or spend a day wandering the halls of the 4+ different museums they have right in town. 


When you’re walking around, be sure to pop into La Rossa Restauracja & Sale Weselne for a bite to eat. All of their dishes are full of fresh ingredients and the service is always superb! Oswiecim makes for a wonderful day trip from Kraków owing to its historical background and unique character. 

If you have more than 24 hours on your next day trip from Kraków, consider visiting Ostrava, Warsaw, or even Prague!

How to get there: 

Car: Just under 69km from Krakow, should take just over 1 hour by car.  

Public transport: Take a train from the main Krakow Train Station, the journey to Oswiecim should take around 45 minutes.  

Written by Emily | Emily Embarks

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine, a.k.a the Krakow Salt Mine, is a fun and easy to do day trip from Krakow. As the mines are only ten kilometres outside the city centre, it’s easily accessible by local bus, train, Uber, or a tour.

It’s one of the oldest salt mines in the world –it started in the 13th century and was still in operation until 2007.

It is only possible to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine nowadays, on a two-hour guided tour.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is 300 metres deep, with nine different levels and more than 100 miles of tunnels and remains a constant 17-18°C all year round.

Statues made from salt inside the St Kinga’s Chapel.
Statues made from salt inside the St Kinga’s Chapel.

Inside the mine, there are over twenty chapels.

Undoubtedly, the St. Kinga’s Chapel is the highlight of the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The chapel is carved entirely from salt – yes, the walls, the floor, the ceilings, the sculptures and even the chandeliers. The impressive chapel took 67 years to build and is located 100 metres underground. At 54 metres long, 12 metres high and 18 metres wide, it’s the largest underground temple in the world.

The tour ends 135 metres underground. Here you will find toilets, a small restaurant and a shop where you can buy some salt. There’s also a small salt museum you can explore at your leisure.

To return to the surface, you will need to take a tiny, rickety old mine lift that can only accommodate nine people at a time, so there may be a slight queue.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine tour is suitable for people of all ages.

How to get there: 

Car: Just a short 13km from Krakow centre, driving should take just under 30 minutes. 

Public transport: Take the tram 304 from outside the train station and exit at Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli, walk a short distance to the Salt Mines.  

Tour: No need to plan the logistics with this guided tour with pick up from your hotel. From Krakow: Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour (Hotel Pick-up) 

Ticket prices: 

Prices are per person 122zt ($30.66) for a guided tour. 

You can book your tickets here.  

Written by Sarah | Lift Part 2 and Beyond

Tips for planning a day trip from Krakow 

Whether you’re in Krakow for a couple of days or on a road trip around Poland, it is worth exploring the regions around Krakow. And to make your trip go smoothly, we share some simple tips to help plan your itinerary.  

Research transport options 

Before you leave, take some time to research the various transport options available for your day trip from Krakow.  

Not all destinations are assessable via public transport and might be more suitable if you’re on a road trip or a tour.  

We navigated Krakow mainly on foot, as the city is walkable, especially walking the Royal Route, when we spent 3 days in Krakow. But when it came to our day trip planning, we chose the bus from the main Bus Station, direct to Auschwitz-Birkenau. You can book your bus tickets to Auschwitz-Birkenau here. 

If you prefer a bit of freedom, then you could hire a vehicle and explore at your own pace. Just be mindful of parking and paying for any parking fees.  

Public transport is efficient in Poland, with frequent buses and trains, many covering these ideal day trips.  

With an abundance of transport options, it makes taking a day trip from Krakow, easy, simple and adventurous. 

Plan your itinerary 

Now that you have chosen the day trip location and how you intend to reach the destination, now create a rough itinerary to include that day trip from Krakow. 

Prioritise the sights and activities you’d like to do, but keep it flexible, to allow for any spontaneity or any unexpected discoveries along the way. Allow yourself to wander off the beaten path, as these unexpected or spontaneous moments make the memories that will last for a lifetime.  

Plan your itinerary around the opening times of the sights and activities you plan to do and book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.  

Budget setting 

Creating a budget for your entire trip to Krakow including any day trips you take.   

Include in your budget all expenses, from transportation, entrance fees, meals, accommodation and any additional purchases you may have to make.   

Look out for any discount or deals to help stretch your budget further.   

If you need more tips on how to set a budget and save money as you travel, then check out our tips on how to set a budget for travel. 

You can also download our free Budget tracker here. You’ll be able to track if you’re staying on target with your budget or need to cut back.  


While Krakow is so diverse with so much to see and do, from walking the Royal Route and exploring Wawel Castle, to wandering the narrow-cobbled streets of the Old Town, making time in your itinerary for a day trip from Krakow, will enhance your experience.  

Whether you’re interested in history, alpine villages, adventures, there is something for everyone within a short distance of the vibrant city.  

The sombre experience of Auschwitz-Birkenau is etched into our minds, but it rounded off our trip as it brought Poland’s past and present together.  

To make the most of your time, plan ahead. Research transportation options for a seamless journey, book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.  

Consider the seasons and plan you day trip. It rained for much of our trip to Krakow, so waterproof clothing is recommended if rain is forecasted. If you plan to head to the beautiful mountains of Zakopane, then you could be in for a snowy village. 

As you plan your Krakow getaway, consider one of these day trips to discover even more of what Poland had to offer, you won’t be disappointed.  

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5 Best day trips from Krakow
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